The Body Shop calls out JK Rowling over transphobic tweets

The Body Shop has issued a strong statement following signing an open letter to the Home Secretary led by Cruelty Free International.
"We are saddened and angered that the UK Government is open to changing a policy." : The Body Shop.
// The Body Shop called out JK Rowling over a transphobic comments on Twitter
// Users said the retailer “bullied” the Harry Potter author after she spoke of abuse experiences
// Many have called for a boycott of The Body Shop following the comments

The Body Shop has sparked controversy after tweeting at Harry Potter author JK Rowling for making a transphobic comment about menstruation.

Social media users have called for a boycott of The Body Shop after accusing it of “bullying” Rowling.

The Harry Potter writer shared a link to an article titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate” on Saturday, with an accompanying tweet: “’People who menstruate’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”


She later tweeted a short thread that started with: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Rowling’s weets, which many users described as transphobic as cisgender women are not the only ones who menstruate, sparked widespread backlash on social media and prompted her to double down and further elaborate on her views in an open letter published on Wednesday.

In response to the author’s tweet about menstruation, The Body Shop tweeted a photo of a red canvas bag reading: “It’s bloody natural. #DropThePWord to end period shame” with the tweet: “Hey @JK_Rowling here’s something we made earlier, we thought you might like one! We’ve also popped in a vegan bath bomb and a copy of Trans Rights by @paisleycurrah for you to read in the bath!”

Despite The Body Shop’s tweet seemingly being in support of trans rights, the statement was met with criticism on social media as many accused the retailer of “bullying” Rowling.

“Wow, that’s appalling. Bullying a woman online is not a good look,” one person tweeted.

Another said: “What an incredibly unprofessional tweet from a supposedly ethical organisation.”

Meanwhile, other users suggested The Body Shop was making light of Rowling’s experiences of abuse and sexual assault, which she wrote about in her open letter.

“I’ve been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor,” Rowling wrote.

“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember.”

According to some, The Body Shop’s response was “tone-deaf” and appeared to “mock” Rowling’s past abuse.

One person tweeted: “Hey, everyone, The Body Shop thinks women talking about surviving domestic abuse is something to mock. What a look, eh?.”

However, others have applauded the company for standing up for the trans community.

“Thank You for saying it like it is. Menstruation doesn’t = woman/womanhood. We are not our bodies, we are more than that. The transphobia in some of these comments is so disgusting,” one person tweeted.

Another person said: “The Body Shop calls JK Rowling out for her transphobia and people get angry? This. This is the issue people. People support the rights of a white woman punching down at an oppressed minority and think they’re being feminist. This is how pervasive transphobia is.”

Separately, other people criticised JK Rowling for weaponising her past experience of domestic abuse to gain sympathy and to justify her transphobia.

Retail Gazette has contacted The Body Shop for comment.

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  1. have you amended this article? did the original have “transphobic” in quotes? Are you so frightened of the aggressive men’s rights activists that call themselves trans rights activists that you will work to remove rights of women and girls around the world to name their own sex, and you will libel a much loved millionaire? She isn’t a billionaire any more because of her huge donations to charities, especially those supporting women and children.

  2. What about the prostate-owners? People with prostates include many trans women, and while it’s important for cis-men to hear health alerts, it’s concerning that so many prostate awareness campaigns continue to publish trans-exclusionary advice that speaks only to cis-men.And I can’t help wonder if it’s always just lack of awareness, or if sometimes there’s a tiny subconscious element of transmisogyny in ‘forgetting’ that Trans women and non-binary individuals also have prostates!
    I don’t believe these organisations consciously wish to deny life-saving healthcare for trans women, or non-binary individuals who have prostates, however, they must embrace trans-inclusive language and stop erasing the existence of non-cis prostate-havers!

  3. What on earth made Body Shop enter this vipers’ nest subject? Especially one where the silent majority are firmly on Rowling’s side of the argument. Utterly foolish to confuse the twittersphere, full of over-vocal activists with highly partisan views, with real life where its many female customers live.

  4. My daughter-in-law was at the Hampstead Heath women’s swimming pond last summer. A number of women were lying around topless. Then in walks a person, I dare not say a man, in a dressing gown with a dark beard and lipstick. The women rushed to cover themselves but no one dared tell him to leave for fear of being accused of a hate crime.
    This is an example of how sexual predators are abusing this transgender business.

    I acknowledge that about 1 in a 1,000 people are born with unusual or exta chromosomes. These very rare people have my sympathy and support.

  5. You left the quote marks around “transphobic” off the headline and the line “The Body Shop called out JK Rowling over a transphobic comments on Twitter”. Very partial reporting here and really hits your credibility, Retail Gazette.

  6. Why was it transphobic, Elias?

    It was also a very strange tweet as the Body Shop’s bag seems to be to promote positive experiences around menstruation, “It’s bloody natural” implying that the lived experiences of women and girls is nothing to be ashamed of and (I think, but am not sure) The Body Shop has worked with charities promoting good and safe menstrual health. It now seems that ‘people who menstruate’ and their health and wellbeing (probably about 51% of the world at some time during their lifetime) are being disregarded at the altar of woke? I would also assume that the Body Shop’s target audience is ‘people who menstruate’ but if their voices are to be shut down, as they have been done throughout history, and their hard-won rights are eroded, as they cannot even now name themselves (apparently women= adult female is offensive) then this is very likely to be The Body Shop’s Ratners’ moment.

  7. This is a factually inaccurate report. JKR’s tweets were not transphobic. They weren’t even “transphobic”. It’s just some delusional people who read them as such.
    I hope Body Shop gets what it deserves for taunting a brave woman.

  8. This is a lazy article with a careless, inaccurate headline which will compound the unfair treatment of JKR. Does the author of the article even understand the point that JKR was trying to make? She did not make a ‘transphobic’ comment about menstruation. She objected to the fact that women are being told that it’s ‘transphobic’ to call themselves women. The Body Shop made an extremely ill-judged decision with their tweet, given how many of their customers are women and how many will agree strongly with JKR’s perfectly reasonable comments.

  9. What a shoddy bit of reporting. Seems like the kind of thing written by a student for a University paper. Maybe try for a more balanced, less moralising tone when reporting upon something that is still very much up for debate.

  10. Sloppy journalism. It’s a matter of opinion re whether the tweets were transphobic or even ‘transphobic’. This piece is not balanced at all.

  11. What is transphobic about science? What is cis? Who wrote this article a woke, middle class intern? Only a woman with a womb has periods. To reduce us to menstruators for fear of upsetting men is vile, callous and wrong. To tweet JKR telling her to read a book by a man is misogynistic. To join in a Twitter pile on is bullying. The Body Shop is, in social justice warrior terms, cancelled

  12. JK… you have no idea how bad you make some of us feel… do you not know around at least 40-50% of trans people attempt suicide due to hate and isolution? Please think of those kids that read your books and saw the films…. these are the very ones that you should be helping to feel ok about themselves in their own skin.
    I knew a lassie who took her life in the garden shed in the town. Just for being her. You have a good brain please try to talk to us all in the manner of woman I thought you were.


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